Legislative and Regulatory Update
April 2019 by Scott Harn
• Bishop and Curtis seek to rein in Antiquities Act abuses
Congressmen Rob Bishop (R-UT) and John Curtis (R-UT) introduced HR 1664, a bill that would set limits on the use of the Antiquities Act to create national monuments.
The bill would require review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for a proposed monument between 640 acres and 10,000 acres. An environmental assessment would also be required for proposed monuments between 5,000 and 10,000 acres. Congressional approval would be required for larger proposed monuments.
It’s unclear whether this bill has the necessary support to pass in the House.
• Lands bill signed by President Trump
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) made a valiant attempt to stop S 47, a huge public lands bill that included permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), but his effort ultimately failed and the bill passed.
Senator Lee had introduced an amendment to remove the permanent funding, but both Democrats and Republicans joined forces to shoot down his amendment. The reason we—and miners in general—were against the bill is because LWCF funds are used to place additional public lands off-limits regardless of whether or not a mineral survey has been completed.
Senator Lee is all too familar with federal land grabs in Utah; he fought to have the size of national monuments reduced in his state when former President Obama used the Antiquities Act to expand them against the wishes of local legislators.
President Trump really did not have a choice but to sign it after it passed with a veto-proof majority. The bill passed the Senate 92-8, with the following Senators voting against it: Cruz (R-TX), Inhofe (R-OK), Johnson (R-WI), Landford (R-OK), Lee (R-UT), Paul (R-KY), Sasse (R-NE), Toomey (R-PA). A House version passed 363-62.
…what I’d like to focus on in this update is the assistance they provided to a suction gold dredger in Idaho being harassed by an environmental group.
• Not so happy birthday
• Even more support for the PLP
The verbage is SB 838 is vague and ambiguous to say the least. As a result, there is quite a bit of misinformation floating around the rumor mills.
In every sense, this was a witch hunt with a preconceived agenda to heavily restrict or outright prohibit most small-scale mining in Oregon.
• Refunds coming to Nevada claimholders
• More wilderness proposed
• Forest Service planning rule
- EPA ends "sue and settle"
- Sage grouse mineral withdrawal cancelled
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